Sunday, December 6, 2020:
Meet St Nicholas!

WELCOME to
ST JAMES' ONLINE SUNDAY SCHOOL!

Our church color is purple!
Here are the readings for this Sunday:
Here's who we're wondering about:
St Nicholas, Bishop of Myra
(March 15, 270 - December 6, 343)

December 6 is the Feast Day of St Nicholas, the beloved and generous Bishop of Myra, who lived a LONG time ago, and is immortalized today both as himself and as the spirit of Christmas' secular superstar, Santa Claus.

History tells us that he was born nearly 20 centuries ago (!) in the country we now call Turkey. His parents, who were wealthy, died in a pandemic (a sad echo of our time) when Nicholas was just a boy. Because he loved and honored Jesus, Nicholas gave away his inherited money to people who needed it, following Jesus' teachings, and he devoted himself to Christianity.

Before long, he was appointed Bishop of Myra. Years passed, and two big things happened to him: 1) he was put in jail for his beliefs, and 2) after he was released, Nicholas participated in the First Council at Nicaea, in 325 - that's where and when our Nicene Creed was written. So St Nicholas is linked to the Creed that we share at Communion!

All kinds of legends have sprung up about Nicholas' generosity, kindness, and helpfulness. He was famous for being a protector of children and sailors - and more!

St Nicholas' remains were removed from Myra to Bari, Italy, in 1087, and later entombed in the Basilica San Nicola. (Trip Advisor reviewer: "The outside is rather square.") (The relics - or is it the marble? - exude a liquid, considered to have healing properties. You can buy a drop, mixed with holy water, by clicking here.)

Here is the link to visit the online St Nicholas Center and learn much more. It's a wonderful resource, well worth exploring! There are crafts and activities for kids.

image above is: The Charity Of Saint Nicholas Of Bari, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, 1335, tempera and gold on poplar, 30 x 20.5 cm (Musee Du Louvre)
Jan Havicksz Steen, The Feast of St Nicholas,1665-68, oil on canvas, 82 × 70.5 cm (Rijksmuseum)

Lots happening in this depiction of a Dutch family's celebration of St Nicholas! This scene of a long-ago December 6 has some children enjoying gifts (including a type of golf club!), one crying because he's received switches in his shoe instead of treats, and more. Click here for an essay pointing out some of the details.

See the big fancy bread leaning against the table (!) at the bottom right? That's duivekater, a cardamom & nutmeg spiced fancy bread made for the occasion - and here's a recipe for it!
Generosity. . . can be hard! Click here to play a thoughtful game featuring PBS' Arthur & friends. Grownups, check out this informative article. And everyone: print, color, fold & play with this cute Christmas Kindness fortune teller toy.
Waiting for Christmas!
Here's a sweet song (almost a lullaby) to share & learn during the days ahead: click here to listen.

Rock on to Chicago's Jolly Old St Nick!
Check out fun and thoughtful activities, prayers, and crafts for Advent - the weeks of waiting and preparation for Christmas!
Here are some thoughts on savoring Advent and enjoying the wonder & joy of Christmastime.
(See Tip #5, "Celebrate Advent's Feast Days" - including St Nicholas, 12/6)
figurines of the Holy Family at Christmas
Please write to me - how can we help you wait & be hopeful, these days? Please send me photos of your Nativity sets & scenes! (This one's from me!)

Twice-a-month Zoom classes are here - thank you, Jenn & Kim! Current students & families, look for link in a separate email; next class is12/6! (We'll open up to new students later, thank you for your patience!) Email me for details.

Our Online Sunday School emails (like this one) continue, every weekend.

Here is a lovely Advent resource for anyone to enjoy after a long day: click here for "Hope & Joy Bedtime Advent Meditations for Children" from the (Episcopal) American Cathedral of Paris, France.

Je demande à Dieu que vous puissiez tous avoir utemps de l'Avent rempli de l'Esprit! I pray you all have a Spirit-filled Advent season! - Linda